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Throwaway Children

Guest Speaker: Mr. Xavier McElrath-Bey, Youth Justice Advocate, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth

In his talk, Mr. McElrath-Bey will discuss restorative approaches within the educational system, group homes, police stations, juvenile courts and other institutions, and how these approaches can serve as positive tools of socialization for at-risk youth.  Restorative processes such as peace circles, mediations, victim-offender dialogues, peer juries and victim impact panels expose youth to an emotional environment that makes them aware of the harm caused to others.  These methods allow a youth to face the shame of his actions and give him the opportunity to replace the loss.  They also foster genuine remorse and empathy.  Mr. McElrath-Bey will also talk about the ICAN, the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network.

McElrath-Bey had a difficult childhood on the streets of Chicago. At the early age of 13, after many arrests and convictions, he was involved with the death of another teen.  McElrath-Bey was transferred to adult criminal court and was later convicted to serve a 25 year sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections.  In prison, with the growing sense of maturity, remorse for his past actions and positive influences in his life, he began to make positive choices--hoping to someday prevent others from making the same mistakes that he once made.  During his incarceration he earned an Associate of Arts, an Associate of General Education, a Bachelor of Social Science and a certificate in Computer Technology--and was inducted into the Franklin Honor Society for "outstanding scholarship.”  He served 13 years in prison.  Upon his release in 2002, he graduated from Roosevelt University with a Master's of Arts in Human Services.  He has worked for Ceasefire as an outreach worker; for Catholic Charities as a Street Intervention Specialist; for Alternatives Inc. as the Juvenile Justice Diversion Program Coordinator; and for Northwestern University as a Clinical Field Interviewer for a longitudinal study of health needs, service utilization and outcomes of formerly incarcerated youth.